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Feaster expects to make deal before deadline
By Eduardo A. Encina, Times Staff Writer
Published February 21, 2008
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Jay Feaster said he spent far too much time over the past three days at the general managers meetings in Naples dodging cameras and reporters hungry for trade talk.
"It was like the locusts had descended," Feaster said.
Regardless, the Lightning GM said he conducted meaningful discussions, enough that he believes Tampa Bay will make a trade before Tuesday's 3 p.m. deadline.
"I would think there's going to be activity on our end," Feaster said Wednesday, shortly after meetings ended.
Feaster wouldn't talk specifics, but rumors circulated around Canadian media outlets. The one with the most legs has Tampa Bay trading Brad Richards and his annual $7.8-million over the next three seasons to free up space to sign puck-moving defenseman Dan Boyle to an extension. Feaster is trying to work out a deal with Boyle, who could command between $6-million and $7-million.
Richards, however, has a no-trade clause.
Potential unrestricted free agents Vinny Prospal, Chris Gratton and Jan Hlavac also could be dealt.
Meanwhile, Stars co-general manager Les Jackson and director of player personnel Dave Taylor attended Wednesday's Lightning game in Buffalo.
LUKOWICH TO HAVE SURGERY: Defenseman Brad Lukowich, who has missed the past three games, is scheduled to have cutting-edge surgery for a hernia Friday in Germany, a procedure the Lightning believes will cut his recovery time in half. The team believes he will miss 3-4 weeks.
With most hernia surgeries, the procedure involves cutting through the abdominal muscle to repair a tear in the lower abdominal wall. But Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck's procedure, which has been successful with numerous English Premier League soccer players, involves going under the muscle with local anesthesia.
It is the same procedure former Lightning defenseman Nolan Pratt had before this season. Pratt was pain-free in three weeks, Lightning head trainer Tommy Mulligan said, while traditional hernia surgeries can take 6-8 weeks to heal.
Muschaweck's procedure hasn't caught on in the United States, said Mulligan, who oversaw Pratt's surgery and will travel with Lukowich.
HOLDING PATTERN: For now, the Lightning won't add a blue-liner to replace Lukowich. But Doug Janik, who has played sparingly the past three games after being a healthy scratch in the seven before, likely play a bigger role.
"The top four on the blue line (Boyle, Paul Ranger, Filip Kuba and Shane O'Brien) are playing significant minutes," Feaster said. "So I don't feel as though Luke's absence so far has been something thus far that has dramatically impacted us."
SITTING OUT: Forward Andreas Karlsson was a healthy scratch.